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vs Newcastle: Match Report


JohnCresswell
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Newcastle Utd 0 Aston Villa 0

FA Barclays Premiership

St James Park

Saturday, 18th August 2007.

Hard to really sum up, this one. A much, much better result than expected for me, but a performance which I was expecting - so an odd one, really.

Pre Match

No bets this week - I'd forgotten to do it to be quite honest, but had I have been putting my money where my mouth is I'd have been going for something like 3-1 to Newcastle, Martons first scorer and Gareth Barry as the last goalscorer. So It's a good job that I forgot to, really.

Scott Carson made his debut in the beautiful bright yellow goalkeeping jersey, and made what we hope is the first of many, many clean sheets.

The Goals

Looked lovely. Obviously this section sort of struggles when it's been a goaless draw, but it's probably worth mentioning that neither goal was really threatened a great deal.

For Villa, John Carew took the ball on a bit of a run and slammed a 30 yard shot towards the goal, which was turned over the bar by Steve Harper.

Petrov had a chance to take all three points at the end, but slipped when volleying Barry's cross pitch pass. Gabby Agbonlahor should have scored with his effort after running at the Magpies' defence and Laursen would have scored if his header had been placed a foot either side of the 'keeper from a cross from a corner early on in the match.

Carson only had one major save to make.

Thoughts on the performance

It's a tough one, this for me. I was expecting Newcastle to come out all guns blazing and put us to shame. So, I'm really happy with a point - I wasn't expecting it at all.

The performance the team put in may have been slightly dominant over Newcastle, but we never seemed to take advantage of the possession or chances that came our way. I don't want to sound disappointed, but there is a case of thinking "What If....", from today's game.

The defence and new 'keeper seemed fairly happy, though Boumas performance again wasn't up to the standard which he put in towards the end of last season. Carson seemed to fit in well, but didn't look too happy with one or two of the crosses that came in and there were the expected mis understandings with his back four - at one point Bouma very nearly left a ball which Carson was not coming for. Gardner, filling in at right back again did what you can expect from him. Lee_av on the messageboards got it spot on for me when he talked of Gardner being a good footballer, a better one that the previous right back Hughes - but probably not a better right back than Hughes. It's still a position that MON needs to fill.

In midfield, where Petrov disappointed last week, he impressed this week. Gone was the sloppy passing, and he seemed to have a good grip on the game. Reo-Coker, too, had a much better game and for me would have been Man of the Match. He did some good defending and also managed to support the attack better than Barry or Young - and would have found himself with an easy tap in if Agbonlahor hadn't been so selfish in the first half.

I was disappointed with Barry - he looked slow and his passing seemed off today. I've rad that a lot of people thought Barry was actually rather good today though, so what do I know? The answer to that, is nothing.

Up front, Carew seemed to start the game at a better pace than last week, but took a knock and fell away again. He seemed to have trouble breathing at one stage, a rather bizarre injury and one that can be considered rather dangerous! Luke Moore replaced him but didn't anything of note. Having paid nearly £4million for Marlon Harewood as a 'back up' to Carew, it might have been nice to see what Marlon could do. Gabby was also quiet - and with the one chance he did have took the wrong choice when passing to Reo-Coker would have given Villa an almost certain goal. Ah Well, you win some, you lose some (and in our case, draw them too).

The Ref

"Congratulations" to Howard Webb, who had a quiet game but ran it well. I notice Mike Riley, who put in a terrible performance at VP last week, had another awful game this week. Surely if a referee continues to underperform he should have actions taken against him?

Positives

A point! The silly "hoofing" that played too much of a part to our game last week disappeared and we tried to keep the ball on the ground and play the ball. We were slightly the better team, too. Villa fans outsang the Geordies from what you could hear on the TV, and the hyping up of Michael Owen coming back looked rather silly when he hardly touched the ball.

Oh, and Martin Laursen played 90 minutes.

Negatives

Still no win. For a side that was apparently looking reaally dangerous up front during pre-season, we're finding it hard to score. After two games we are still to score a goal from open play.

The Opposition

Villa and Newcastle are two very similar teams, and the draw probably furthers that idea. I think I must have overated their team, and in particular strikeforce - only Milner gave our defence any real problems.

Big Sam seems to have made their defence much stronger, and I wouldn't be suprised to see them within a place (either side) of us.

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How different we all are -

- I agree re Barry today, and am suprised at the compliments he's got in some quarters, he was okay, but I thought it his least influential performance for many months - seemed to be pretty sluggish..

- Yet disagree re Petrov - who I normally have a lot more time for than many on here, I think he will be a great player for us, and many of his contributions have been undervalued, but today, when so many thought he did well, I thought he was largely anonymous and offloaded responsibility to the back four too often

- and also disagree re Bouma, who I thought had a good solid game except for 1 cross.

Laursen was superb, and agree the salivating over Owen became more amusing as the game went on - 27 minutes and one pass I think.

Thought we looked better once Young went right, Barry left, and Moore up front with Gabby. I like Carew and expected the team to be set up how it was, but that Milan performance was with the team we fineshed with today - perhaps against a weaker Fulham side, and at home, we may start like it next week.

Still can't see why so gloomy generally Mr C !!

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Still can't see why so gloomy generally Mr C !!

I agree.

"Still no win," says John.

"It's only our second game!" says I

With our first game being against one of the best teams in Europe, and the other being what most would have considered a really tough game at home to a Newcastle side who have spent plenty of money, have a good manager in BSA, and surely would have been up to their eyeballs in expectations from all quarters, for their first home game under BSA?

Yes, we could/should have come away with all three points, but I'm pretty happy to be disappointed that we didn't - if you see what i mean. :D

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